A blog of the Philadelphia Bar Association’s Criminal Justice Section

violet oakleBy Burt Rose

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The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania has ruled in the expungment case of COMMONWEALTH of Pennsylvania, Appellant v. Mark WALLACE, Appellee, 2014 WL 3579692 (7/21/14), a Philadelphia case before Judge Frank Palumbo.

The Court was called upon to decide the question of whether the Superior Court had erred in reversing the lower court and holding that an inmate has a right to petition for expungment. Commonwealth v. Wallace, 45 A.3d 446 (Pa.Super.2012). The issue was: “Did the Superior Court err by holding that an incarcerated career criminal has a due process right to a hearing at which the trial court must determine-on a charge by charge basis-whether over a hundred prior criminal charges against him should be expunged?”

The Supreme Court, in a unanimous Opinion written by Justice Stevens, found that due process does not guarantee this right to an inmate while still incarcerated. The Court noted that because the Appellee’s criminal record is so vast, it is unlikely that he will face specific negative repercussions based on the existence of the remainder of his record that he wants to expunge, while the Commonwealth has legitimate concerns about retaining this inmate’s complete record.

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Comments on: "PA Supreme Court denies prisoner’s right to expunge" (1)

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